The Cambodia UNCT initiated use of UNDAF Info in late 2010 and is currently in the process of finalizing the tool for a projected national rollout in August 2011. Below are excerpts from a recent interview with Ann Lund, Senior UN Coordination Specialist, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Cambodia, and Mercedes San Roman Ruiz, Coordination Officer, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Cambodia, who shared lessons learned and best practices for using DevInfo to monitor the UNDAF.
DevInfo Support Group (DSG): Can you provide a brief overview of how Cambodia started using UNDAF Info to monitor the joint UN programme1?
Ann Lund (AL): In Cambodia, we have a longstanding UNDAF Advisory Group, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation and monitoring of the UNDAF. Following finalization of the UNDAF 2011-2105, this group has given priority to developing a meaningful and useful monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for the UNDAF. This is to ensure that the UNCT is well-positioned to meet the new M&E requirements set out in the latest UNDAF guidelines. The UNCT will continue to have informed discussion with the Government on UNDAF implementation on an annual basis.
We opted in 2010 to explore the usefulness of the UNDAF Info tool, and we have decided to fully adopt it for our use. We continue to keep in touch with the Global DevInfo Initiative team, which is in
DSG: Based on your experience with the pilot testing, do the UNCT and the Government of Cambodia feel that UNDAF Info is a useful tool for monitoring UNDAF commitments?
Mercedes San Roman Ruiz (MSRR): Yes, for several reasons. First, UNDAF Info is a live tool updated throughout the year, which enables the UNCT to monitor the achievement of the UNDAF 2011-2015 and the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals (CMDGs). It allows both the government and UN agencies to have an up-to-date source of information for the five defined UNDAF outcomes and the 9 CMDGs, enabling all parties to regularly analyze national progress towards achieving these goals.
DSG: Do you have a plan in place for managing, updating and reporting from UNDAF Info over the 2011-2015 time period?
MSRR: Absolutely. We are presently working on finalizing this plan. After entering all the indicators we plan to monitor, we are working with the various UN agencies and government line ministries to identify which indicators will be monitored in any one year, to ensure that they will be able to report annually on the indicators they are responsible for. Our report format each year will consist of a one- page summary per UNDAF outcome, with supporting quantitative data drawn directly from UNDAF Info.
Of particular importance are our discussions with the national government regarding their level of involvement in the process, to ensure sustainability. We are seeking to find a proper balance between reducing the workload on the government, while preserving a sense of national ownership of the tool. Our hope is that one day, responsibility for managing UNDAF Info can be handed over completely to the government.
With different agencies and ministries responsible for reporting data to us annually, we can then focus on performing substantive analysis of the data and presenting information on different
DSG: How does the use of UNDAF Info in 2011-2015 represent an improvement over the situation of previous UNDAFs?
MSRR: In many ways. Essentially, UNDAF Info will facilitate the management and presentation of UNDAF results - indicators, targets and achievements - in a consistent way. The Government will have the same access to UNDAF Info as the UN system, and this will significantly improve our periodic and annual reporting processes, as information can be easily extracted from the system when needed – for example, at the time of the Joint Annual Review, during a meeting with development partners, during strategy development discussions with Government officials, etc.
DSG: The success of UNDAF Info in Cambodia appears to hinge upon whether many different players – focal points from the UNCT and government line ministries – can adequately learn how to use the tool for themselves. Do you foresee any challenges here?
AL: Devinfo is a practical, intuitive and user-friendly tool. Once the UNDAF framework is uploaded [by the back-end database administrator], the rest is easy to use. All involved partners joined together to practically understand how UNDAF Info worked and how it could be modified to suit our specific country context. It was on the basis of the success of these sessions and the ease with which we were able to use and adapt the tool to meet our needs, that the decision to fully adopt UNDAF Info for our use in Cambodia was made.
Data making a difference.
For more information, please contact Mercedes San Roman Ruiz, Coordination Officer, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Cambodia, atMercedes.Sanroman@one.un.org or Ann Lund, Senior UN Coordination Specialist, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Cambodia, atAnn.Lund@one.un.org.